Interview with Ronald Griffin, January 27, 1983



Description: 
After attending Leestown Junior High, Douglas High School, and graduating from Lexington Bryan Station High School, Mr. Griffin spent four years with the United States Air Force. He became active within the NAACP (National Association for The Advancement of Colored People) while at Eastern Kentucky University working at various levels. This activism included participation in the Student Union protests on the Richmond campus and civil rights lectures from Shirley Cunningham and Julius Berry. He discusses the impact of the civil rights movement on Lexington and reflects upon the bombing of Palmer's Drug Store. He recalls his impressions of the NAACP at the beginning of his involvement; his presidency and the goals he accomplished. Mr. Griffin believes in leadership by example and counts the increased growth of membership; the increased credibility and respectability; and the improvement of bonds with the African American churches among his proudest achievements. Under his administration, the NAACP built up the treasury; maintained an office; expanded community outreach programs; started the Academic, Cultural and Technical Olympics; and augmented voter registration and education programs. Attempts were made to improve relationships with the business community; to erase housing discrimination and encourage political activism by the African American community. Mr. Griffin identifies the other civil rights organizations which had a part in African American progress; enumerates the civil responsibilities of the African American community; evaluates the progress in Lexington since 1945 and after 1970; and discusses some of the unique aspects of life in Fayette County. He comments upon the relatively stable employment at IBM, the University of Kentucky, the Fayette County School system and the thoroughbred horse industry. The affirmative action program at IBM is mentioned as is the importance of the thoroughbread horse industry in Lexington. Concerned about the decline of African American participation within this business, Mr. Griffin would like to see organized programs to encourage African Americans to become trainers, jockeys, owners and breeders. He considers parity in education to be of vital importance for economic growth and desires greater participation by the African American community in solving social problems.

Interview Accession: 
1988oh033_kh445
Interviewee: 
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
1983-01-27

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